Prep softball: Youth movement works for Taylorsville
It's photo day for the Taylorsville softball team, and the Warriors are loose.
Fighting for position around second base, they're pushing and joking with each other. A quick glance reveals a tight-knit group of friends. And they're a formidable threat on the field in Region 2.
Taylorsville is using its youth to its advantage. It started the season with a come-from-behind win over Alta and a dominating performance over last year's state champion, Weber. With a freshman-heavy squad, the Warriors are focused on the fundamentals and playing as a team.
"Play as one," junior Karlee Jensen said. "In having such a young team, we're working to play as a unit."
The shortstop is confident in her team. Taylorsville gave up seven runs in the bottom of the first but was able to fight back in the Alta game. Jensen believes that the Warriors' ability to battle back will be their greatest strength as the season progresses.
"We have the pitching, hitting and defense," she said. "Everything is there, and it's been working really well for us provided we keep our composure."
Coach Rich Kaylin is optimistic about his team's chances this season. He knows that Hunter and Viewmont will be gunning for the Warriors every year, but he is confident that his team will do the work to be prepared for regional play.
"The nice thing about them is that they are really focused," Kaylin said. "More than that, they know they have work to do, and they're willing to put in the time to improve their game."
The Warriors have three strong arms in the circle Jaycie Lebaron, Aseneca Lesuna and Caitlin Littleford. Lebaron, a junior who focused on pinpoint placement of her pitches against Weber, credits her defense for giving her the confidence to pitch effectively.
"When they can make the grounders, I know I can throw my best stuff," Lebaron said.
With a difficult preseason and region schedule, Jensen wants her team to play fearlessly and make a run at a state title.
"Since we are so young, we need to keep working and playing as one," Jensen said. "You can always get better and play to your expectations."
At the MaxPrep Tournament of Champions, the Warriors held tight with the reigning California champions before losing 4-1.
Freshman Caitlin Littleford closed out the Weber game in the circle and hit a home run against Alta.